The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Sunday, December 21, 2014


News of: Sunday, 13th of April, 2008

Front Page

RMG workers clash with cops for pay hike

More than 50 people including 27 law enforcers were injured yesterday, with four of them having shotgun pellet wounds, in yet another series of clashes between several thousand garment industry workers and police at Fatullah of Narayanganj near the capital.

Govt-AL talks at Padma today

In a reversal of a decision Awami League (AL) presidium finally agreed yesterday to sit in a dialogue today with caretaker government advisers, without a formal invitation.

No plan to catch masterminds

The government has no plan to go for the masterminds of recent violence in the name of protesting "anti-Islam" elements in the women development policy but is going to take stern action against the violators of the state of emergency.

CID arrests 'grenade thrower' in August 21 carnage

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday arrested a person suspected of throwing grenades in the August 21 blasts at an Awami League (AL) rally in 2004.

1,000MW load shedding makes life miserable

With no practical move to improve gas supplies to power plants, the load-shedding situation continues to worsen as the dry scorching heat drive people to use more electricity at homes and offices.

Billion dollar fund for Dhaka on cards

A billion dollar 'multi-donor trust fund' for Bangladesh is on the cards to finance long-term climate change mitigation and adaptation in the public and private sector.

Noab, BSP for waiving VAT on newsprint

Newspaper owners yesterday requested Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed to waive the existing 15 percent VAT on newsprint in the wake of unusual price hike of printing paper on the international market.

11,000 sued for violence in Dhaka, Ctg

Two separate cases were filed yesterday against around 11,000 unidentified Islamist activists for Friday's violence and vandalism in the Baitul Mukarram area in the capital and Hathazari Police Station in Chittagong.

Motia waits in OMS queue for rice, returns empty-handed

Awami League (AL) Presidium Member and former agriculture minister Motia Chowdhury waited for hours in vain to buy rice from an open market sale (OMS) outlet in the city's South Basabo.

Delwar threatens agitation to free Khaleda

Khandaker Delwar Hossain, the chairperson-appointed secretary general of BNP, yesterday made a call for unity in the party, saying that the party would soon announce programmes to free its chairperson Khaleda Zia.

BDR, BSF deal to combat cross-border crimes

India and Bangladesh yesterday signed an agreement to make joint efforts to tackle cross-border crimes like arms smuggling and trafficking of women and children by sharing timely and actionable information.

Decision on Hasina, Khaleda after talks

Education Adviser Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman yesterday said decision on the release of former prime ministers Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia might be taken after discussions at the government-sponsored dialogue.

2 ‘criminals’ killed in crossfire

Two suspected criminals including ringleader of infamous Anu group Anwar Hossain Anu alias Tiger Anwar of Lalbagh in the capital were killed in an encounter between Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) personnel and members of the gang at Aganagar in South Keraniganj last night.

Maoists score strongly in early poll results

Nepal's ex-Maoist rebels were emerging yesterday as the surprise single biggest victors in early results for landmark elections to rebuild the Himalayan nation after a bloody civil war.

Taiwan sees results from landmark China talks

Taiwan's vice president-elect said he and Chinese President Hu Jintao held "candid and harmonious" talks yesterday in the highest-level contact ever between the sides, and they had brought results.

Democrat blames weak economy on Iraq war

The growing cost to the United States of fighting the war in Iraq "is not only linked to our economic skid, but is a leading cause of it," a Democratic congressman said yesterday.

Bush says no plans to attack Iran

US President George W. Bush said Friday he has no intention of attacking Iran, in an interview in which he also gave some advice to his successor on how to deal with the Islamic Republic.

Haitian senate votes to oust prime minister

Haiti's Parliament has voted to dismiss Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis following deadly riots over rising food prices.

Correction

We regret the inadvertent publication of a photo showing two workers of Hijbut Tahreer, Bangladesh, as claimed by the organisation, under the news item "Terrorist Threat", referring to Harkatul Jihad Al Islami Bangladesh (Huji), on page 7 of our monthly publication Forum (April, vol-2, issue-5).

Editorial

Noxious Dhaka air

THE pollution level of Dhaka city's air is worsening at an alarming rate with varied types of toxic pollutants being released in the air regularly from different sources. Exhaust fumes from faulty engines of motorised vehicles, especially diesel engines, remain the number one cause behind release of large amount of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide and lead particles. Thus, one can clearly perceive the consequence in terms of air quality when the number of motorised vehicles keeps increasing by ten percent annually in the city alone. The constant increase of vehicles is also contributing to severe jam on the streets, which again causes burning of fuel in large amount in the stranded vehicles.

After the elections in Nepal

FOR a nation yet to get acclimatised to substantive democracy, Nepal appears to have been doing reasonably well for itself. The elections last Thursday, for which votes are still being counted, drew as many as 60 per cent of the electorate to the polling stations. There have, of course, been instances of pre-election violence, but they have been minimal. The dire predictions earlier made by many about a disruption in the voting have been belied. And yet it becomes the responsibility of all parties taking part in the elections to ensure that the results are respected and upheld.

Charting a developmental path for Bangladesh

IF one were to interrogate Walt Rostow's proposed theory of the stages of economic growth then the time to be taken by the developing countries in reaching stage of developed state would become indeterminate. This is because it stretches from pre-Newtonian traditional stage through preconditions of take-off and take-off stages with expansion of new industries to the fourth stage of “drive to maturity” in which economies broaden their base with advanced technology and complex process and finally arrive at the stage of mass consumption with culture, politics and ethics as prerequisites of economic performance.

Maya and reality

THE good news for the Sonia Gandhi Congress is that Rahul Gandhi is finally beginning to irritate someone. The bad news is that he has irritated Mayawati, the increasingly iconic leader of India's Dalits.

Barack Obama's Willie Horton

AFTER the Democratic Party National Convention in Atlanta in July 1988, nominee Governor Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts held a 17-point lead over the Republican nominee, Vice-President George H. W. Bush. History was not on Bush's side; no serving vice-president had been elected president since Martin Van Buren in 1836.

Sports

Reality bites

It probably helps if you are coaching Bangladesh to be both grimly realistic and cautiously optimistic. You must accept that defeat will, at present, mostly be inevitable, but you must also be able to draw from it some solace, something to hold on to. Luckily for Bangladesh, Jamie Siddons is able to do both.

Last chance to save series

All eyes will be on the Tigers' response today in the third one-day international against Pakistan at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, as they are on the brink of conceding the series.

NCA take series

GP-BCB National Cricket Academy (NCA) narrowly missed a chance to whitewash their South African counterparts in the two-match four-day series when the second game ended in a draw at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Flight Lieutenant Motiur Rahman Stadium in Khulna yesterday.

Welcome win for Brothers

Brothers Union thrived on two half-centuries from Parvez and Monir to secure an important six-wicket win over Indira Road in a First Division Super League match at BKSP yesterday.

Bima draw with Mohammedan

Sadharan Bima came from behind to hold Mohammedan Sporting Club in the opening match of the Brac Bank Club Cup Hockey at the Maulana Bhasani National Stadium yesterday.

Ganguly's gutsy knock

Sourav Ganguly cracked a gutsy 87 on a difficult pitch to help India gain a slender advantage on the second day of the third and final Test against South Africa here on Saturday.

Younis asks for a break

Younis Khan has pulled out of Pakistan's squad for the remaining three one-day internationals against Bangladesh, citing the need for rest. Younis asked the selectors to be omitted from the squad, a wish the committee granted.

MU to end Gunners' season

The feud which once simmered between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger has long since come off the boil, but the Manchester United manager would still find it hard to suppress a smile if he inflicted a final ignominy on his old rival on Sunday.

Ronaldinho going to Milan?

A report in Saturday's Gazzetta dello Sport claimed that Brazil forward Ronaldinho has reached an agreement with Milan on a possible summer transfer.

Trouble free relay in S America

The Olympic torch was run through Buenos Aires Friday under tight security in a relay free of the scuffles that marred earlier legs in Paris and London.

Rafa wants to seal 4th spot

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has ordered his players to win the battle for fourth place in the Premier League before thinking about their Champions League semifinal showdown with Chelsea.

Sharapova reaches semis

Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova rallied to defeat Ukranian Alona Bondarenko 6-7 (9/11), 6-3, 6-2 in a Friday quarterfinal at the WTA Bausch and Lomb Championship.

Brazil won't play in La Paz

Brazil have reiterated that they will not be going to La Paz at 3,600 metres above sea level when they face Bolivia in World Cup qualifiers, adding to the controversy over a ban on high altitude matches.

Roddick, Blake lead US charge

Andy Roddick and James Blake gave defending champions United States a 2-0 lead over France in their Davis Cup best-of-five quarterfinal tie Friday.

Fergie, C'Ron win Barclays awards

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and winger Cristiano Ronaldo were on Friday named Barclays manager and player of the month respectively for March.

Shaun's desire

Shaun Marsh has set his sights on emulating his father Geoff and becoming an opening batsman for Australia in Test and one-day cricket. Marsh was handed his first Cricket Australia contract on Wednesday and with Matthew Hayden and Phil Jaques the only specialist openers in the 25-man squad, he knows a top-order spot could soon be there for the taking.

BCCI plans pace unit

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is getting ready to start its first-ever pace bowling unit at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore from June.

Amit in Test plans

Trinidad off-spinner Amit Jaggernauth will not be part of the one-day series between West Indies and Sri Lanka, but he is still very much part of West Indies coach John Dyson's plans.

'England may be loser'

Dougie Brown, the chairman of the Professional Cricketers' Association, has warned that the majority of England's leading Test players might be lost to the Indian Premier League (IPL) if the English authorities try to force the likes of Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen to choose between the new tournament and representing their country.

Records tumble in Manchester

Croatia's Duje Draganja edged out home favourite Mark Foster to smash the world 50m freestyle best as records tumbled at the world short-course swimming championships here Friday.

Not in Aaron's wildest dreams

Aaron Redmond, the latest player to earn a call-up into New Zealand's ever-changing top-order, is hoping to make his tour of England more successful than his father did 35 years ago. Redmond was named in the 16-man Test squad and could become the eighth person to follow his father into New Zealand Test cricket if he makes his debut in the three-game series.

Akram's mother passes away

Hazra Khatun, mother of former Bangladesh cricket captain Akram Khan, breathed her last in Dhaka in the early hours of Saturday. She was 75.

Kirby struck in the head

Gloucestershire's Steve Kirby was taken to hospital after he was struck on the head by a short ball in the season opener between the MCC and Sussex.

Hall to contest ECB decision

Andrew Hall will appeal against the ECB's decision to decline his registration for the 2008 season. The board refused to use its discretion to allow him to turn out for Northamptonshire as he had played for South Africa A in August.

Business

Govt mulls private management for ZIA's cargo village

The government mulls putting the management of the cargo village of Zia International Airport (ZIA) under private management in efforts to improve services.

Mittal delegates talk township development with advisers

UK-based industrial group Mittal delegates have held talks with the government to discuss the proposed plan to develop a $1.5 billion coastal township in Chittagong, a local representative of the Mittal said yesterday.

Commodity price hike leads to rise in banks' profits

Banks in the country saw good profit making in 2007 mainly due to price hike of commodities in international market, industry people said.

IMF chief sees 'major' slowdown in global economy

International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said Thursday he sees a "major" slowdown in the global economy this year amid a credit market crisis.

Prawn sandwich destroys Philippines fish nurseries

She helped turn many of the world's prawn farmers into millionaires, but Jurgenne Primavera now worries that her life's work might have indirectly accelerated the destruction of fish nurseries.

IT professionals: Knowing-doing gap

The IT industry today employs more than 12,000 IT professionals covering the full gamut of IT skills such as systems engineering, network administration, database administration, software engineering, systems analysis, testing, research and the like. The academic profile of these professionals varies widely but a significant proportion (around one third) are computer science or engineering graduates from nearly 80 public and private universities of the country.

No new tax in next budget, says adviser

There will be no new tax in the budget for the next fiscal year, Finance and Planning Adviser Dr AB Mirza M Azizul Islam said yesterday.

$15b RMG export hinges on workers' productivity

Productivity of workers needs to be improved to achieve US$15 billion annual apparel export target, a seminar was told in Dhaka yesterday.

Eco-friendly washing process in RMG sector stressed

Speakers at a function here Friday stressed the need for applying technical expertise on washing and finishing processes in the readymade garment (RMG) sector for protecting the country's environment.

JCI Bangladesh, Brac Bank to sign MoU on CSR

Junior Chamber International (JCI) World President Graham Hanlon arrives in Dhaka tomorrow on a two-day visit.

India bans cement export

India has banned export of cement and withdrawn tax sops on export of rice and primary steel in a bid to rein inflation which reached a 40-month high of 7.41 percent on Friday even as it announced a slew of other incentives to achieve a 200-billion dollar export target set for financial year 2008-09.

11-day food festival begins in Dhaka, Ctg tomorrow

An 11-day food festival will begin tomorrow simultaneously at 36 restaurants in Dhaka and Chittagong on the occasion of Bengali New Year.

New GM of Hotel Sweet Dream

KS Alam has been appointed general manager of Hotel Sweet Dream at Banani in Dhaka, says a press release.

WB says Laos more attractive to investors

The World Bank says Laos is now more attractive to investors due to new laws which make it easier to do business.

US mortgage crisis could cost banks $650b

The crisis in the US housing market, which has sent shockwaves around global financial markets, could cost the banking system a total of 650 billion dollars (411 billion euros), Credit Suisse economists said Friday.

Google gains from Yahoo-Microsoft takeover drama

Microsoft's unwanted courtship of Yahoo is spinning into a dramatic soap opera that analysts say is playing into the hands of Internet search king Google.

Toyota to invest $350m, make small car in India

Japanese giant Toyota Motor said Friday it plans to invest 350 million dollars to build a new plant in India and develop a small car for one of the world's fastest-growing motoring markets.

US will work with partners to avert future crisis: Paulson

US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson warned Friday that the struggling US economy may face rougher times ahead but insisted its fundamental prospects are in good shape.

Weekly Currency Roundup

March 30 April 03 2008
Local FX Market

Local inter-bank FX market was mostly tight throughout the week; however the BDT remained almost unchanged against the USD.

Metropolitan

Developing new crop varieties a must to avoid food crisis

Experts at a seminar yesterday said the agricultural production would decrease significantly in Saarc region in the coming years due to climate change.

'Change attitude towards child, juvenile offenders'

Though there is no scope to consider the children as offenders under the Children Act 1974, some 380 children are still in 57 jails of the country due to lack of understanding of the law and mindset problem of the authorities concerned, said the speakers at a seminar yesterday.

'Take stern action against Islamist activists'

Demanding stern action against Islamist activists who had staged violence in Baitul Mukarram area in the city, leaders of different organisations yesterday said the country will face a disastrous situation if the government does not take tough action against the activists.

Security tightened in Ctg

Law enforcing agencies have taken adequate security measures in the port city to ensure peaceful observance of Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla New Year.

Famine takes place in states run by unelected govts

Chairman of the Regulatory Reforms Commission Dr Akbar Ali Khan yesterday said famine takes place in the countries run by unelected governments as there is none to put pressure on the government to take the right decision.

Criminals attack cops in Sylhet

Four policemen were injured in an attack by the henchmen of a top criminal on police list when the law enforcers tried to arrest him at Pashchim Sirajnagar village in Balaganj upazila early yesterday.

JCD factions clash at DU: One injured

An activist of the pro-reform faction of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) was injured yesterday in a clash between two groups of the faction on Dhaka University (DU) campus.

City AL collects 5.70 lakh signatures to free Hasina

The city unit leaders of Awami League (AL) yesterday said they have collected 5.70 lakh signatures in favour of the party President Sheikh Hasina's release in last six days.

18 thatched houses burn down in Ctg

About 18 thatched houses burned down in a fire at Habilasdip village in Patiya in the early hours yesterday.

SCF signature campaign from tomorrow

Sector Commanders' Forum (SCF), a platform of sector commanders of the liberation war, will start a mass signature campaign across the country from tomorrow (April 14), Bangla Noboborsho (New Year), to mobilise public support against the war criminals and anti-liberation war forces.

Pvt university student killed in city road accident

A minibus crashed into a road island at Banani in the city yesterday, killing a private university student who was waiting there for a bus.

Silent famine prevails in country

Bangladesh Kalyan Party (BKP) Chairman Maj Gen (Retd) Muhammad Ibrahim yesterday said a silent famine is prevailing in the country.

UPL book exhibition begins today

The 10-day annual exhibition of UPL books begins at the Central Public Library Auditorium at Shahbagh in the city today, says a press release.

Free treatment for cardiac patients

Specialist physicians of cardiology department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) yesterday provided free treatment to the people aged above 35 of city's Jigatola area at Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital in the city, says a press release.

Ambassador Arshad-uz Zaman passes away

Former ambassador Arshad-uz Zaman, son of the late Khan Bahadur Fazlur Rahman, passed away due to a cardiac arrest at 8:15pm yesterday at the United Hospital in the city.

Body to probe JCD-BCL clash

The academic council of Dhaka Medical College (DMC) yesterday formed a three-member committee to investigate the clash between Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) and Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) on Friday that injured 20 BCL activists at the DMC dormitory.

Robbers kill house owner in Bandarban

A house owner was killed and his three relatives were critically wounded as armed robbers sprayed bullets on them during a robbery at his house at Kadukhali in Sadar upazila early yesterday.

BCL signature campaign at Buet to secure Hasina's release

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), student wing of Awami League (AL), yesterday launched a mass signature campaign on Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) campus demanding release of AL President Sheikh Hasina.

18th BCS Forum executives

A 43-member executive committee of the 18th BCS Forum has been formed with Md Mahmoodur Rahman as its president and Mohammad Sarwar Alam as general secretary.

Condolence meet

To commemorate the death of Prof M Asaduzzaman, former chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC), a memorial meeting and launching ceremony of a souvenir magazine will be held at the RC Majumdar Auditorium of Dhaka University (DU) today, says a press release.

National

Boro target to be attained in 10 southwestern dists

Despite bacterial infection in certain areas, the targeted 22 lakh tonnes of Irri-Boro production in 10 southwestern districts under Khulna division in current season will be attained, according to agriculture officials.

Pahela Baishakh a reminder of tragedy for them

Nur Jahan was crying beside the grave of her son Al-Mamun, who was killed in the bomb attack on Pahela Baishakh celebrations at Ramna Batamul in Dhaka in 2001.

Protest against drug use, not women's rights

Finance and Planning Adviser Dr. AB Mirza Azizul Islam yesterday said those who are opposing the proposed policy for women's property rights are doing so without properly realising it. They have resorted to violence to accomplish their political motive.

Guardians demand proper facilities for students

Guardians of students of Mawlana Bhasani University of Science and Technology (MBUST) at a view-exchange meeting yesterday urged the government to provide all facilities for its students as in other universities.

Kushtia millers sell rice at Tk 25 a kg

Kushtia Rice Mill Owners Association (KROA) in a noble gesture yesterday stared selling rice at Tk 25 per kilogram among poor people in the town.

Two held for pasting posters against Pahela Baisakh

Police Friday night arrested two persons from Rangpur Medical College area in the town while pasting posters with 'fatwa' against observance of Pahela Baishkh.

Task force starts work today

The ten-member Task force to be headed by a high-ranking army officer will start functioning from today to prevent corruption in Khulna City Corporation and provide better services to city dwellers.

Voter ID card distribution begins in Moulvibazar

Distribution of national identity and voter cards started in Moulvibazar yesterday.

Rice truck missing

A Bogra-bound truck loaded with food grain from Nilphmari district remained missing for five days as of yesterday.

Letters

Water management and women

The relation between life and water is inseparable. But if you closely observe, you will find a deep relation between water and women. Women take the responsibility of water management in a family.

Iran's nuclear programme

I am writing with reference to Point Counterpoint: "Forty-year old nuclear programme," By Jamal Ashraf (April 8).

Economic "nationalism"

Right at this moment our country and its policymakers need economic management on the basis of economic nationalism. Let me clarify: Food prices have gone up internationally. It's not an excuse for the present CTG but a reality. Why don't we change our food habits, not for these " hidden hunger” days but for the years ahead. Not only potato, which had a bumper production this year, but other cereals could be added to make it a balanced diet. We need publicity. BTV can do that instead of sermonising the farmers on how to produce boro or how to protect potatoes. Actually BTV is run by taxpayers' money but they are not doing enough to promote national interests.

Clinton nostalgia

The Clintons have injected former President Bill into the battle to such an extent that an insulting (yet not inaccurate) word -- Billary --is back in political parlance. In fact, the Clintons have played the Bill card so belligerently that you would think Bill is the candidate and Hillary his spokesperson! Obama was quite right in saying that sometimes he could not realize which candidate he was running against.

Student politics

It was a different story when our teachers and students took action to emancipate the nation through the Language Movement and Liberation War. But the situation has changed. Now student politics is an entirely different proposition.

Right to mobility

People's right to movement is recognised as a human right. Constitutions of various countries including ours have recognised this right as a fundamental one. However, state authorities, both at the departure and destination end try to impose restrictions on this movement through various means and modalities.

First yarn recovery plant

Islam's report published on 2nd April in your pages on the commissioning of a Swiss-Bangla joint venture; the first plant in the country for recovering yarn from waste cotton and waste cloth. It is a worthwhile achievement, and the private sector investor deserves our congratulations for this innovative industry for recycling cotton and garment wastes. I believe this enterprise has a good potential in Bangladesh and is an important import substitution for reducing the need for imported raw cotton and yarn.

Food habits

It is time we should bring about substantial changes in our lifestyle with regard to food habits particularly amongst marginal and vulnerable groups. Indeed, there has been a worldwide food grain and cereal shortage. Global climate change has an adverse effect leading to sea level rise, increase in floods, cyclones, tornadoes, drought and loss of biodiversity. Many factors including climatic changes resulted in unprecedented price escalation. We have witnessed over the last one or two years unprecedented political turmoil, flash floods and devastating effects of cyclone Sidr resulting in totally chaotic consumer market scenario. Misdistribution of fertiliser and/or pesticides, too much profiteering by the middlemen and increased cost of transportation have certainly contributed to the unaffordable price of rice, ata and edible oil.

Dual citizenship

It is wonderful news, published in your daily and issued by the foreign ministry on 24 March, that British passport holder Bangladeshis from now on will retain their Bangladeshi citizenship automatically under a new rule of the Ministry of Home affairs. This rule will scrap the previous notification, circulars, orders or instructions of the government.

Price spiral and students

Price spiral has recently become one of the burning issues. Although it is a global problem, Bangladesh is experiencing this acutely. The prices are soaring up day by day. The poor and middle class families cannot afford to manage two square meals.

Plight of a public library

The Divisional Public Library of Chittagong is beset with many problems. To begin with, the library is housed in a building that was partially damaged by an earthquake-- the cracks on walls are still visible. Then the lighting of the reading rooms is less than adequate. As evening creeps in, the readers have no choice but to read in dimly-lit halls. The corridors have bad smell as the toilets are not cleaned properly.

Set examples

Our country is facing many problems of which three appear most pressing. These are food crisis, shortage of power and financial crunch. The caretaker government is trying many options including disbursing valuable advices, of course free of cost! People demand something concrete. To alleviate the food crisis it is suggested that we change our food habit, take more potatoes to supplement rice. Can't we set some examples here? We may serve potato made items in our government functions, we may urge government officials to take their lunch made from potato and other vegetables. Those institutions getting government subsidies in food items may take 50% potato in place of rice or ata. The guest control law may be stringently followed to stop extravagant use of food items.

Top two

A local Bengali daily has carried a news item that the two leaders in jail will have to agree to “three conditions” to get released from jail. I have no intention to repeat the conditions mentioned, but the conditions look like an arbitrary formula of the government to pave the way for controlled democracy. I have doubt that these would be acceptable to the two leaders or to their party cadres. These conditions seem to be a hard line approach of the government, but the scope of negotiation cannot still be ruled out, hopefully.

International

Israeli army withdraws after Gaza raid kills 7

Israeli forces withdrew from the Gaza Strip yesterday, the army said, after a raid that left seven people dead, including a 10-year-old boy.

Afghan clashes claim 24 Taliban, 2 Indians

Afghan and foreign troops clashed with and called airstrikes on militants in southern Afghanistan, leaving 24 dead and eight wounded, an official said Saturday.

Lankan president calls for national unity

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse called for national unity Saturday in his traditional New Year message as 10 more deaths were reported in the conflict-racked nation.

Leaders gather for summit as Mugabe meets Mbeki

The leaders of southern Africa gathered yesterday in Zambia for emergency talks to discuss the post-election crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe, despite Robert Mugabe's decision to skip the summit.

Keep off bomb-strewn streets of Sadr City, says Iraq

Iraqi authorities ordered residents off the streets of Baghdad's Shia militia bastion Sadr City on Saturday, warning they are littered with bombs, after a night of fighting that killed 13 people.

Tibet is an internal matter, says Hu

Chinese President Hu Jintao took a hard line yesterday in his first remarks on the recent unrest in Tibet, saying the matter is an internal affair that impacts Chinese sovereignty.

Pak troops take control of Swat valley

Pakistani security forces have taken control of a militant stronghold in the restive northwestern Swat valley following an increase in activities by pro-Taliban rebels who had been lying low for several months.

Nepali Maoists should be struck off US terror list, says Carter

Former US president Jimmy Carter on Saturday urged that Nepal's Maoists be struck off the US terror list after the former rebels took an early lead in election results.

Spain's Zapatero sworn in as premier

Socialist Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero took the oath of office in front of King Juan Carlos Saturday, beginning his second term as prime minister with a flagging economy and Basque separatism as his chief concerns.

Indian activists slam 'distorted' UN rights review

Indian activists on Friday became the latest to denounce the UN Human Rights Council's new country review method, slamming a "distorted" process that left civil society on the sidelines.

Italians mull vote ahead of elections that promise little change

Italian voters yesterday mulled over their choice on the eve of an election that offers little hope for significant change as the country faces an economic slowdown and continued political instability.

Iran replaces al-Qaeda as chief US concern in Iraq

Recent violence in Basra has convinced the administration of President George W Bush that Iran and not al-Qaeda is now the primary threat to US interests in Iraq, The Washington Post said yesterday.

Obama counting on Indiana

Barack Obama sees himself with a disadvantage in Pennsylvania and with an advantage in North Carolina. "So Indiana may end up being the tiebreaker," he said this week.

Lanka man freed after languishing in jail for 55 years without charge

A Sri Lankan court has released a man who was held in custody for 55 years without charge, a report said on Saturday.

Macedonia dissolves parliament

Macedonian deputies voted yesterday to dissolve the parliament, thus paving the way for early elections to be called in coming days in a bid to avoid further political crises following Greece's blockade of Skopje's integration into Nato over a name dispute.

Arts & Entertainment

Looking back

"As a finishing touch I would always put a red teep on my forehead,” said Selina Malek. "Thick garlands of beli were always ordered well ahead and Makhi bu would put them around our braids," added Iffat Ara Dewan. "Remember how we enjoyed luchi, shabji (mixed vegetables) and moti choor laddus at the Jal-Khabar restaurant after our morning session at the Ramna Park?" said Shaheen Samaad. The four of us, all Chhayanat alumnae, were at Iffat Ara's house. The conversation drifted to how we used to celebrate Pahela Baishakh.

Concert at Sheraton to raise funds for children

Dhaka Sheraton Hotel and ntv in association with UNICEF arranged a fund raising concert at the Winter Garden, Sheraton Hotel on April 11. The audience rocked on as popular artistes Bappa Majumdar, James and the band Souls performed.

Celebrities and Pahela Baishakh

Pahela Baishakh celebrations in the urban areas started modestly in the late '60s. The last decade saw some interesting additions to this biggest secular festival in the country. Like Eid or Durga Puja, Pahela Baishakh now has a fashion trend devoted to it. Designers bring out their new collections on this occasion and there are ranges of Baishakhi-special clothes according to the affordability of different income groups.

Rajshahi University gears up for Pahela Baishakh

Students and cultural organisations of Rajshahi University (RU) are getting ready for the Pahela Baishakh (the first day of the Bengali New Year) celebrations.

Saris with a floral flare

Just as other artists use canvas to paint over, Nahida Sharmeen uses saris to paint on. Her collection of Boishaki saris-- worked on with paints, block and embroidery -- are now on display at Shilpangan. These are displayed along with three-piece sets for women in various colours and designs, and also "fatuas".

Special programme “Tini" on Ekushey TV

On the occasion of the eighth anniversary of Ekushey TV, a special episode of Tini featuring prominent singer Runa Laila will be aired tonight at 8:15 pm. Kazi Jesin hosts the show.

"Baishakh elo ananda niye"- on Baishakhi TV

A special play Baishakh elo ananda niye will be aired on Baishakhi TV on April 14, at 09:00 pm. The play is written by Rokeya Islam and directed by Sadeque Siddique.

TV play "Ilish" on ntv

On the occasion of Pahela Baishakh ntv will telecast a special single episode TV play Ilish on April 14 at 9:00 pm.

OP-ED

One China policy and Olympic 2008

CHINA is, indeed, a great country, with 5000 years of recorded history. Ancient China was the centre of world civilisation, and the seat of knowledge, wisdom and culture for millennia. Even our Prophet Muhamamd 1500 years ago instructed people to travel to China to seek knowledge. China, especially in recent decades, has achieved tremendous progress and development in all spheres of national life. It has turned out to be the most vibrant nation, a great economic powerhouse, a nation most confident and determined, and is unabatedly surging forward. China watchers appreciate that, with the present pace of development, by 2030 it will be the largest economy and greatest economic power, overtaking US. This phenomenal development of China was achieved through peace, socio-political stability and harmony. It has very high maturity, prudence and vision.

Asia hit by soaring rice prices

FOOD prices are continuing to sky-rocket throughout Asia, causing many governments to intervene to try to stabilise their domestic rice prices for fear of acute shortages in the future. Many aid agencies working with the region's poorest people, including the UN's World Food Programme, are increasingly worried that food shortages and price rises will severely affect their food assistance programs.

Equality versus justice

IS there a contradiction in terms between equality and justice? Sometimes it is argued that inequality, especially if it is removed by force, may infringe on the principle of justice. The opponents of equality -- economic or gender -- invoke nature and natural justice in support of their argument.

Star City

Troubled world of sports of autistic children

Farhan, 11, was strolling with his mother at the Chandrima Udyan in the city. Sometimes the child was breaking into a run but all on a sudden running out of steam.

Tug-of-war over an open space

Gulshan Youth Club and an event management firm, Rupkotha Productions Limited, are at odds over organising programmes at Gulshan Central Park on Pahela Baishakh (April 14), the first day of Bengali New Year.

Delicious dishes from 'Opar Bangla'

Finding a recreational spot is a matter of luck in Dhaka city. So the city dwellers, to relieve the monotony, often indulge in eating out at various restaurants with family members.



The Daily Star

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